Sunday, May 2, 2010

Arizona’s Immigration Policy Would Not Have Stopped the 9/11 Hijackers

There has been a lot of blabber from the right-wing lately about how THEIR style of immigration reform is needed “in a post-9/11 world”.

That phrase, “post-9/11 world” is meant to imply that we now live in a more dangerous society than we did before. Thereby, right-wing pundits assert that new, tougher and more radical immigration reforms are needed – including Governor Jan Brewer’s controversial reform in Arizona.

The debate over Arizona’s new immigration policy can be framed in one of two ways. The right wing of American politics contends that we are losing jobs, security and quality of life due to excessive immigration (mainly from Mexico but not limited to that border).

The left wing argues that we lose more jobs from corporate outsourcing and that our immigration policies pose no particular threat to our security or quality of life – that those are false perceptions based in racism and classism. Furthermore, those on the left believe that better national security will arise from a uniform Federal immigration reform, as opposed to each state choosing their own immigration policies as Arizona has done.

So let’s take a quick look at this phrase that has become popularized within the right-wing media and see if it holds water… Sorry to spoil the surprise, but the answer is NO.

According to the 9/11 Commission Report and numerous Congressional Inquiries, all 19 hijackers who are commonly known to have been the perpetrators of 9/11 were in possession of the required documentation in Arizona’s new code.

None of the 9/11 Hijackers were known to have crossed the Mexican/United States border by foot and few of them even spoke broken English. They had even taken classes with large numbers of other foreigners on how to speak with American dialects, appear more American and blend into American society.

All the hijackers had visas, passports, and photo ID’s. All the 9/11 hijackers’ information was verified by the Concordance system prior to boarding their flights.
The Arizona Immigration Bill (SB1070) does not include any provisions which would require additional scrutiny in obtaining work visas or immigration status. It does not require any additional checks or procedures for national or state security in the process of obtaining citizenship or an identification document.

The Arizona Bill is primarily a set of laws which restrict LEGAL citizens from having any contact or collusion with illegal or undocumented workers. For instance, an Arizona citizen can be charged with a misdemeanor for knowingly or unknowingly giving an undocumented worker a ride in their car. The language of the bill encourages regular citizens to be “watchdogs” or “vigilantes” in the sense that it stiffens penalties for citizens who are found to have “reckless disregard” for another person’s immigration status.

The bill is very poorly written and unconstitutional at best and does absolutely NOTHING to prevent terrorism or to strengthen national security. SB1070 serves only to encourage distrust and skepticism amongst Arizonans based on race, class, employment and income.

Photo: Jan Brewer (R-AZ) and Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R-AZ) celebrating Pakistani Day 2006 with Arif Kazmi. Joe Arpaio is one of the most controversial characters in law enforcement. He has created prison camps in Arizona which are softly referred to as “tent cities” in which prisoners suffer in 120 degree heat and has been scolded by human rights advocates for digitally recording the daily activities of prisoners and putting these images on the internet for all to see – without knowledge or consent from the prisoners.